The 41 Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds of 2022

Have fun while learning with the Battat Wooden Activity Cube

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Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds

Verywell Family / Sabrina Jiang

By 18-months-old, little ones are starting to learn more about their surroundings and engage in more independent play. They’ve outgrown a lot of their little baby toys, but they’re not old enough for more complex ones with small parts. 

Reviewed & Approved

The Battat Wooden Activity Cube teaches colors, shapes, letters, and numbers, all while helping develop fine motor skills. If you prefer an outdoor toy instead, we recommend the Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike.

Gifts for kids in this age group should be safe, help them meet milestones, and encourage them to use their bodies. “They will climb anything in their way. They love to use push and pull objects like a shopping cart or a pull train,” says Dyan Hes, MD, a pediatrician and medical director of Gramercy Pediatrics in New York City. “They are just beginning to enjoy pretend play and will often serve you tea or bake you a cake. They still love to hide objects, but now they remember their location." We looked carefully at the material, age recommendations, and value of toys for 18-month-olds when reviewing products.

Based on our reviews and research, these are the best toys available for 18-month-olds.

Battat Wooden Activity Cube

Battatt Wooden Activity Cube

Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches colors, shapes, letters, and numbers

  • No assembly required

Cons
  • Paint may come off over time

  • Wood can chip if dropped

Each panel of the Battat Wooden Activity Cube features different activities to help toddlers develop their motor skills and learn about colors, shapes, letters, and numbers. Recommended for kids age one and up, this sturdy, durable toy is perfect for independent or side-by-side play. The best part is that it arrives fully assembled and ready to play with, straight out of the box.

Price at time of publication: $60

Radio Flyer 4-in-1 Stroll 'N Trike

Radio Flyer, 4-in-1 Stroll 'n Trike

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Holds up to 49 pounds

  • UV-blocking canopy

  • Includes a cup holder and storage compartment

Cons
  • No seat pad

  • Assembly required

Designed to grow with your little one, this ride-on toy from Radio Flyer converts from a toddler trike to a steering trike, a learn-to-ride-trike, and finally a classic trike. It’s recommended for ages nine months to five years and can hold kids up to 49 pounds. The trike comes with useful features such as an adjustable UV-blocking canopy, cup holder, and rear storage compartment, making it perfect for family strolls.

Price at time of publication: $133

What Our Experts Say

"Most 18-month-olds are adventurous, and even a bit reckless, especially as they learn to walk with confidence. Watch out for toys like baby walkers that can put toddlers at risk for falls, especially around stairs." —Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Sesame Street Love to Hug Elmo

love-to-hug-elmo

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Speaks English and Spanish

  • Soft fabric

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Electrical insides can be felt

  • Arms can stop working after extended use

What 18-month-old doesn’t love Elmo? When you give him a hug, this Elmo doll will hug you back, offer a kiss, and sing in English or Spanish for bilingual playtime. With the ability to respond to baby’s touch, hugs, and squeezes, there are seemingly endless features to discover. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

Price at time of publication: $30

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank

Amazon

Pros
  • 40+ songs, tunes, and phrases

  • 10 colorful coins 

  • Open/close door for easy access

Cons
  • No volume control

With its colorful coins and a side door that’s easy to open and close, this adorable piggy bank is sure to be a hit with 18-month-olds. It includes two learning stages in both Spanish and English and features more than 40 songs and phrases that even adults will find catchy. 

Price at time of publication: $18

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine

Green Toys Tide Pool Set & Submarine

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-free

  • Dishwasher-safe

  • Includes a storage bag

Cons
  • Some pieces too big for small hands

  • Best for water use only

This versatile Green Toys set includes a submarine and six shells and sea creatures that are perfect for creative play at the beach or in the tub. Made from recycled plastic, the entire set is BPA-free and dishwasher-safe. The seaweed-patterned storage bag has holes on the bottom and sides, allowing the pieces to drain and dry out between uses. Recommended for ages six months and up.

Price at time of publication: $35

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Battat Big Red Barn – Animal Farm Playset

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Promotes sensory learning

  • Travel-friendly

  • BPA-free

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Barn door may fall off easily

Perfect for imaginative play, this toddler-friendly set comes with a toy barn and adorable animals. Just the right size for little hands, it has plenty of textures and colors to promote sensory learning and also features a handle for easy transport. Complete with four farm animals and one dutiful farmer, your little one’s farmhouse is full of fun characters. Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

Price at time of publication: $25

Fisher-Price Bounce & Spin Puppy

Fisher-Price Bounce and Spin Interactive Puppy

 Courtesy of Fisher-Price

Pros
  • Interactive buttons and lights

  • Teaches numbers, letters, and simple words

  • Durable

Cons
  • Batteries not included

  • Assembly required

For toddlers who love to bounce, this adorable dog provides them a safe, sturdy way to move. As your little one bounces up and down or presses the interactive buttons and lights, they can listen to music, the alphabet, numbers, or other simple words and phrases. The sturdy base keeps your tot safe while they ride. Recommended for ages one year old and up.

Price at time of publication: $70

Lovevery Play Kit

lovevery-the-pioneer

Lovevery

Pros
  • Skip or cancel subscription at any time 

  • Each kit contains several toys 

  • Toys are nontoxic and safe

Cons
  • Costly

Take the guesswork out of finding the right toy for 18-month-olds with play kits from Lovevery. The play kits, which ship every three months, feature developmentally appropriate toys for each age groups and contain several toys that are made of sustainably harvested wood, organic cotton, non-toxic paint, and safe plastics. Plus, you can cancel or skip a subscription at any time. 

Price at time of publication: $80+/kit

Boon Building Bath Pipes Toy Set

Boon Pipes Bath Toy Set

Courtesy of Buy Buy Baby

Pros
  • Easy to clean and dry

  • Inspires creativity

  • Durable

Cons
  • Suction cups could be better

  • Difficult to clean

Another toy to make bath time more fun, these pipes suction to the bathroom wall so toddlers can create a chain to pour water through. Each pipe has a unique shape and function and can be used either separately or together. Recommended for ages 12 months and up, they rinse with soap and clean water and can be air-dried to avoid mildew growth.

Price at time of publication: $17

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food

Learning Resources New Sprouts Munch It! Pretend Play Food

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Durable pieces

  • 20 pieces included

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Food in bowls not removable

This realistic-looking play food set comes with 20 high-quality, crush-resistant plastic pieces, including toddler favorites such as macaroni and cheese and a juice box. Whether they want to pretend they’re food shopping, cooking, or eating at a restaurant, they’ll have fun while building vocabulary and engaging in dramatic play. Hope your pretend appetite is ready! Recommended for ages 18 months and up.

Price at time of publication: $25

What the Experts Say

"Eighteen months mark the beginnings of symbolic play. Toddlers start to understand that an object can represent something else. They will imitate every day routines and actions they see, like giving a bottle to their stuffed bear. Imitation and pretend play help children learn about their culture, routines, other people’s experience and their environment." Elizabeth Zack, PhD, outreach and education specialist at the University of Washington

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster

Sesame Street Peekaboo Cookie Monster

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Interactive

  • Soft and plush

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Can be hard to press

  • Cookie Monster does not stand

You can finally give your arms a rest from playing endless rounds of peekaboo. The ultra-adorable Cookie Monster plays the toddler favorite Peekaboo by hiding his face behind his oversized cookie. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, the plush toy also hiccups and says funny expressions such as "Hey! Me busy eating cookie!"

Price at time of publication: $34

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella

Manhattan Toy Wee Baby Stella Beige
Pros
  • Multiple skin tones available

  • Ultra-soft fabric 

  • Magnetic pacifier

Cons
  • Spot-clean only

Give the 18-month-old in your life an ultra-soft baby doll to introduce them to the world of pretend play, enhance social and emotional development, and develop motor and life skills. Stella is available in various skin tones and comes with a magnetic pacifier that little ones can use for make-believe play. 

Price at time of publication: $25

Melissa & Doug Pull-Back Vehicles, Soft Baby and Toddler Toy Set

Melissa & Doug K's Kids Pull-Back Vehicles

Courtesy of Kohls

Pros
  • Soft fabric

  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Doesn't work well on carpet

  • Paint on tires may wear over time

  • Colors can fade if machine washed

Toddlers can pull back on one of these soft fabric vehicles and then watch them zoom across the floor. Ideal for developing fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination, the four colorful cars will also inspire imaginative and creative play. The soft texture is perfect for little hands that like to toss toys across the room. Recommended for ages nine months and up.

Price at time of publication: $33

Mega Bloks 80-Piece Big Building Bag

3.4
Mega Bloks

Courtesy of Walmart

Pros
  • Includes a storage bag

  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Not BPA-free

  • Some blocks don't stay connected

  • Plastic odor possible upon opening

With their easy-to-hold shape and bright colors, these classic Mega Bloks are the perfect gift for toddlers. The set comes with 80 durable, high-grade plastic blocks in a convenient zip-up storage bag. Recommended for ages one year and up, they’re ideal for developing hand-eye coordination and motor skills, as well as inspiring creativity.

Price at time of publication: $25

LEGO DUPLO My First Car Creations

LEGO DUPLO My First Car Creations

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • 34 pieces included

  • Builds four different vehicles

  • Character/traffic light decorations

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • No storage bag

  • Wheeled vehicles might not roll well on carpet

Toddlers aren’t too young to be part of the LEGO fun, thanks to colorful DUPLO blocks that are recommended for ages 18 months and up and perfect for tiny hands. With this set, they can create four different vehicles and link them together to make dozens of combinations. The mix-and-match ability allows your tot to express their creative side.

Price at time of publication: $44

Melissa & Doug Pets Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Melissa & Doug Pets Jumbo Knob Puzzle

Amazon

Pros
  • Large knobs

  • Vibrant colors

  • Durable, extra-thick wood

Cons
  • Only three puzzle pieces

Encourage hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills with this adorable Melissa & Doug puzzle. It features durable, extra-thick wood and large knobs for tiny hands to grasp easily. Plus, matching pictures are found under each puzzle piece to help little ones find the right spot. 

Price at time of publication: $15

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set

LeapFrog Sweet Treats Musical Deluxe Tea Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Teaches colors, counting, and matching

  • Great for independent and group play

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Top tier on cake stand can fall off easily

  • Forks are large, compared to plates

This adorable tea set encourages pretend play and helps kids ages 12 months and up learn colors, counting, matching, and collaborative play. They can host a tea party as they listen to seven different songs and hear the teapot make sloshing sounds as it pours. This is a wonderful way to introduce toddlers to sharing, because they can play by themselves, with you, or among friends. 

Price at time of publication: $28

Learning Resources Spike The Fine Motor Hedgehog

Learning Resources Spike the Fine Motor Hedgehog

Amazon

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches colors, counting, and sorting

  • Easy to clean up

Cons
  • Quills are small (posing a choking hazard)

  • Spikes can be difficult to take out

Spike the Hedgehog helps kids practice their fine motor skills as they maneuver his removable, colorful quills in and out of the holes on his back. The cute hedgehog also encourages color recognition, sorting, and counting. Recommended for kids aged 18 months and up, the toy is also a cinch to clean up, since all the quills pack up neatly inside the hedgehog’s body.

Price at time of publication: $16

Lydaz Bubble Mower

Lydaz Bubble Mower

Amazon

Pros
  • Easy assembly

  • Realistic sounds 

  • Bubbles blow automatically while pushing

Cons
  • 3 AA batteries required (not included)

Toddlers and bubbles go together like mac and cheese, so this push lawn mower is sure to be a hit. Just pop in three AA batteries, and toddlers are on their way to helping around the yard (well, sort of). The bubble lawn mower features realistic sounds for enhanced play and comes apart for easy storage.

Price at time of publication: $40

TOP BRIGHT Race Track Set

TOP BRIGHT Race Track Set

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Encourages independent play

  • Teaches colors and counting

  • Durable

Cons
  • Parking lot on top does not hold all four cars

  • Cars are small (posing a choking hazard)

This race track set is perfect for encouraging independent play and developing focus as toddlers set cars in motion and watch them roll and flip down the race track. The cars’ bright colors and numbers help kids practice their counting and color-recognition skills. Recommended for ages 12 months and up.

Price at time of publication: $22

Little Tikes First Slide

Little Tikes First Slide

Amazon

Pros
  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

  • Easy to store

  • Generous weight limit

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • Doesn’t feel sturdy

  • Handles and seat are small

Designed for kids ages 18 months to six years, this beginner slide can be used both indoors and outside and has handrails for added stability. The perfect height for little ones, this miniature slide is a wonderful all-season activity toy. It folds down effortlessly, making it easy to move around or stow away.

Price at time of publication: $40

VTech Latches and Doors Busy Board

VTech Latches and Doors Busy Board

Amazon

Pros
  • Three modes of play 

  • Durable

  • Variety of latches/doors

Cons
  • Some latches are difficult to open

  • Requires batteries

Little ones will have a blast figuring out how the latches and doors open and close on this Vtech busy board, which features a learning mode and music mode for enhanced learning. Kiddos can press one of three separate buttons to meet the board’s characters or to learn their ABCs and numbers. 

Price at time of publication: $30

LEGO My First Alphabet Truck

LEGO My First Alphabet Truck

Courtesy of Best Buy

Pros
  • Develops fine motor skills

  • Teaches letters and word-building

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Doesn't include a storage bag

  • Trailer and truck do not stay together

With letters, colors, figures, and a truck, this DUPLO set is an ideal gift for kids ages 18 months and up. The easy-to-handle bricks are perfect for tiny hands to build and stack as toddlers learn their letters and work on fine motor skills. As they improve their letter-recognition skills, they can practice building words, too!

Price at time of publication: $25

VTech Smart Shots Sports Center

Smart Shots Sports Center

Courtesy of Barnes & Noble

Pros
  • Interactive sounds and lights

  • Encourages independent play

  • Teaches shapes and numbers

Cons
  • Loud

  • Batteries required

  • Bulky

Sporty toddlers will love that they can play both soccer and basketball with this two-in-one toy. Recommended for ages one year old and up, the set lights up, plays music, and makes sounds while also keeping track of baskets on the scoreboard. The purple side lever makes it easy for toddlers to restart the scoreboard all by themselves to encourage independent play.

Price at time of publication: $45

What Our Editors Say

"My toddler loves to kick and throw balls outside. In the winter months, when we don't want to spend hours in the backyard, this little sports center was a family favorite toy. The two included balls are small enough and soft enough that we were never concerned about them causing any damage inside our home." Ashleigh Morley, Verywell Family Commerce Editorial Director

Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats Interactive Learning Toy

Fisher-Price DJ Bouncin’ Beats Interactive Learning Toy

Amazon

Pros
  • Three learning levels

  • 75+ songs, sounds, and phrases

  • Mic button for recording/playback

Cons
  • Requires 4 AA batteries

Meet DJ Bouncin’ Beats: a silly learning toy packed with music, lights, and lots of bouncing. DJ Bouncin’ Beats features three learning levels, so he grows with kiddos, and plays more than 75 songs, sounds, and phrases for endless entertainment.

Price at time of publication: $45

Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Learning Friends 100 Words Book

Amazon

Pros
  • Speaks English and Spanish

  • Teaches word-building

  • Batteries included

Cons
  • Loud

  • Yellow star can be distracting

Designed for kids 18 months and up, this fun, interactive toy helps toddlers build early language skills. Words are separated into categories like pets, mealtime, opposites, and many more to help toddlers learn and understand the meanings of words. They can touch the words and pictures on each page and hear how they’re pronounced, in English or Spanish, and also listen to fun facts, music, and other sounds.

Price at time of publication: $20

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar Gear Toy

Melissa & Doug Rainbow Caterpillar Gear Toy

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Develops hand-eye coordination and motor skills

  • Teaches colors and matching

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Pieces fall off caterpillar easily

  • May not keep interest long

Toddlers will be mesmerized as they turn the colorful gears and watch the caterpillar crawl on the wooden base. Each of the colorful gears can be removed and added back to the wooden base to encourage color-matching. Recommended for ages 18 months and up, this hands-on toy helps promote coordination and motor skills.

Price at time of publication: $17

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Little Tikes Shopping Cart

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • BPA-, latex-, PVC-, and phthalate-free

  • Can be used indoors and outdoors

  • Can pair with other toys

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • Wheels do not turn

  • Bulky

This tried-and-true favorite from Little Tikes inspires toddlers to engage in imaginative role-play. Made from durable, BPA-, latex-, PVC- and phthalate-free plastic, it features easy-push wheels that are designed to protect indoor surfaces yet still work outside. This fun shopping cart is a great toy to pair with their other pretend toys like toddler play food and pretend kitchen. Recommend for ages 18 months and up.

Price at time of publication: $37

What Our Experts Say

"Toys at this age should encourage your child’s burgeoning motor skills, as well as their natural curiosity. Pretend play is also important at this age. Blocks and stacking toys can help with fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination." —Whitney Casares, MD, MPH, FAAP, author of The Working Mom Blueprint: Winning at Parenting Without Losing Yourself

Crayola My First Crayola Jumbo Crayons

Crayola My First Crayola Jumbo Crayons

Amazon

Pros
  • Nontoxic

  • Sized to fit small hands

  • Eight different colors

Cons
  • Crayons could be longer

Instill a love of art at a young age with your 18-month-old’s first crayon set. These jumbo crayons are made to fit small hands comfortably, and caregivers will appreciate the non-toxic acrylic material. 

Price at time of publication: $9

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Fisher-Price Little People Big Helpers Home

Kohl's 

Pros
  • Encourages healthy and helpful habits

  • Interactive buttons and sounds

  • Inspires creativity

Cons
  • Smaller pieces pose choking hazard

  • Batteries required

With multiple rooms featuring lots of opportunities for hands-on, interactive play, this Little People playset is a safe and sturdy option for toddlers starting at 12 months. Your little one can explore the house as he or she hears songs, sounds, and phrases. The interactive set encourages toddlers to help and care for family and pets while building real-life healthy and helpful habits.

Price at time of publication: $80

LeapFrog Choppin' Fun Learning Pot

LeapFrog Choppin' Fun Learning Pot

Walmart

Pros
  • Five step-by-step recipes

  • Includes lights

  • Number dial and veggie lights

Cons
  • Knob for bubbles goes fast

  • Batteries required

Little ones will have a blast pretending to cook by chopping veggies and putting them in the pot. There are four veggie buttons that children can press to learn more about the vegetables' tastes and colors, and even recipes. A toddler can copy the step-by-step recipes to become a true chef. Designed for children 12 months old and up.

Price at time of publication: $22

Hape DJ Mix and Spin Studio

Hape DJ Mix and Spin Studio

Walmart

Pros
  • 18 keys

  • More than 27 musical options

  • Working tempo slider

Cons
  • 3 batteries required

  • Loud

Kids can dance to the beat of their own drum (literally!) by creating their own music from this 18-key piano. With 18 different sound effects, five background tunes, and four DJ noises to mix in, children will learn hand-eye coordination and rhythm. To make their music extra unique, kids can use the slider to change the tempo of their music.

Price at time of publication: $39

CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

CoComelon Musical Bedtime JJ Doll

Amazon

Pros
  • Budget-friendly

  • Seven sounds/phrases

  • JJ’s teddy bear included

Cons
  • Not machine-washable

  • Head is heavy/hard

  • JJ’s teddy bear cannot be removed

If your toddler is a fan of the hit show Cocomelon, they're going to love hanging out with their friend, JJ! When JJ's tummy is squeezed, he'll say seven different sounds and phrases, and even play the famous Bedtime song. While he can't be machine-washed, the plush doll comes with a mini version of JJ's teddy bear.

Price at time of publication: $20

Pottery Barn Kids Classic Step Stool

Classic Step Stool
Courtesy of PB Kids.
Pros
  • Can be personalized

  • One- and two-step options

  • Side handles

Cons
  • Only three color options

  • Personalization is an additional cost

  • Should not be cleaned with household cleaners

Practical and personal, a step stool with their name on it will come in useful on countless occasions. It comes in four different colors and in both one-step and two-step models.

Price at time of publication: $79

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Grow-the-Fun Garden to Kitchen

garden-to-kitchen

Amazon

Pros
  • Multiple learning levels

  • Two sides for play

  • 30 pieces

Cons
  • Assembly required

Whip up something fresh from the garden in a kitchen that’s chock full of everything little ones need for pretend play. More than 30 pieces are included, from food to silverware, for kiddos to use on either side of the two-sided kitchen. 

Price at time of publication: $97

Munchie Mug Snack Cup

Munchie Mug Snack Cup

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Soft/stretchy lid

  • Different color choices

  • Large handle

Cons
  • Hand-wash only

  • Stickers cost extra

When it comes to taking care of toddlers, snacks are key. This fun cup lets them take their favorites along in style, while a soft fabric opening keeps them from spilling. It comes in an array of fun color choices adorned with numbers for learning.

Price at time of publication: $18

Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

4.8
Strider 12 Sport Balance Bike

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Stainless steel frame

  • Adjustable seat/handlebars

  • No tools required

Cons
  • Assembly required

  • May be outgrown quickly

  • Costly

This balance bike from Strider is designed so that even the littlest tykes can get up and going on two wheels without training wheels. There are no pedals; instead, they power it with their feet, so it’s great exercise and a fun way to build balance and other gross motor skills. 

Price at time of publication: $99+

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table Playset

Step2 Rain Showers Splash Pond Water Table Playset

Amazon

Pros
  • Two levels

  • Easy to clean

  • Large enough for multiple children

Cons
  • No pre-drilled holes for draining

  • Assembly required

If you want a gift that will be used for years, a water table for toddlers is a great place to start. This Step2 water table features two levels, comes with more than a dozen accessories, and is easy for adults to wipe clean. 

Price at time of publication: $90

Munchkin CleanSqueeze 4 Piece Bath Squirts

Munchkin CleanSqueeze 4 Piece Bath Squirts

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Made of soft material

  • Float in the water

  • Easy to clean

Cons
  • Can fall apart easily

  • Have not been tested for dishwasher safety

These cute, colorful toys make bathtime fun for little ones and parents alike. They twist apart for easy cleaning, so adults can keep them mold-free.

Price at time of publication: $10

Prextex Dinosaur Volcano House with Plush Dinosaurs

Prextex Dinosaur Volcano House with Plush Dinosaurs

Courtesy of Amazon

Pros
  • Dinosaurs and volcano are plush/soft

  • Five dinosaurs included

  • Volcano doubles as storage box

Cons
  • Some dinosaurs may be duplicates

  • Volcano design is not realistic

  • Eyes are beads, not sewn on

Dinosaurs are popular among kids of all ages, but this set of five plush ones is perfect for 18-month-olds. It also comes with a volcano to encourage imaginative play and for easy clean-up once they’re done. The easy zip volcano makes toting around their dinos super-easy and convenient.

Price at time of publication: $30

Little Tikes Rocking Horse

Rocking horse

Little Tikes

Pros
  • No assembly required

  • Indoor or outdoor use

  • Easy-grip handles

Cons
  • Only two color options

Keep toddlers busy with this durable plastic rocking horse that’s available in blue or pink. The rocking horse has a high seat back and easy-grip handles for a secure and comfortable ride indoors or outdoors. 

Price at time of publication: $30

How We Selected the Best Toys for 18-Month-Olds

We chose the best toys for 18-month-olds by studying the design and features of more than 70 toys on the market while researching reviews from customers and competitors. We considered toy safety, age recommendations, design, features, ease of use, developmental milestones, and value when reviewing products. We also monitored shopping trends to bring you the best and most up-to-date offerings.

To learn more about what to look for in toys for 18-month olds, we spoke with child development expert Elizabeth Zack and reviewed guidance on toy safety from the American Academy of Pediatrics. We chose toys that are safe and easy to use for the recommended age groups and give parents and caregivers a much-needed (and well-deserved) break.

What to Look For

Safety

At 18 months old, toddlers are becoming more independent and curious, which means that safety is extremely important. When shopping for toys, consider how the toy will be used and what amount of supervision or help a toddler will need to play safely with the toy. Parents and caregivers should avoid toys that require high-powered magnets and button batteries. Toys with small parts or that can fit entirely in a child’s mouth should also be kept away, as they are choking hazards.

Child development expert Elizabeth Zack recommends creating "yes" spaces, which are "flexible environments where it’s okay for children to touch and explore. They promote independence and support children’s curiosity, because they reduce how often you need to say 'No' or 'Don’t' or 'Stop.'"

Zack says, "You can create a 'yes' space by putting up safe barriers like baby gates or using a play yard to keep child within a specific area where everything in it is safe for them to explore. Get down on a child’s level, and look around your space. Remove small objects that may be choking hazards or items that are breakable. Make sure outlets are covered. Put toys and materials in places that your child can access them in a safe way."

Milestones

Knowing developmental milestones helps you evaluate whether your child is on the right track as they get older. Milestones come in the form of social, emotional, language-based, cognitive, and physical skills. Keep the following 18-month-old milestones in mind when shopping for toys: 

Physicality

Buying toys that encourage children to move and use their bodies while playing is important. It promotes confidence in children when it comes to their bodies and makes them stronger. Physical toys, like balls of different shapes and sizes or a wagon to fill and pull, are great places to start. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How many words should an 18-month old know?

    Eighteen-month olds might have anywhere from five to 40 words in their vocabulary. That can include nouns like “ball” or “cup,” as well as words like “hi” and “please.” They might be able to mimic quite a few words they hear in conversation, as well. Every child is different, though, and the normal language-development range varies widely, so always check in with your pediatrician if you have concerns about your child’s development.

  • How do I clean a child's toys?

    A child’s toys can be cleaned with a simple solution of soap and water to help remove dirt, dust, and bacteria. If you need something stronger, look for a cleaning solution that carries the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Safer Choice label. Over 2,000 products available at retailers fall into this category. This label indicates agency standards for chemicals that are less harmful, including to children.

  • Are puzzles good for toddlers?

    Puzzles are a great way for toddlers to learn spatial skills and grasp the connection between physical shapes and forms. Look for puzzles that are age-appropriate so that they’re just challenging enough, but not overwhelming. Try not to make puzzles all about completion; some of the fun and learning is in the problem-solving that it takes to get to the final finished puzzle.

Why Trust Verywell Family

Christine Luff is a freelance writer who covers fitness, health, parenting, and other topics. She’s also mom to a 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, who have always enjoyed a wide range of active and educational toys.

Additional reporting by: 

Katrina Cossey is a commerce writer for Verywell Family with nearly eight years of experience under her belt. Katrina’s background in journalism began at an Emmy Award-winning news station in Oklahoma before she obtained her B.A. in professional media. Her love for service journalism and helping others led to her commerce writing role, which allows her to research and recommend the best products for families, pregnant women, and kids of all ages. When she’s not writing and researching, you’ll likely find her outdoors with her husband and their thrill-seeking toddler son. She recommends the VTech Latches and Doors Busy Board because it’s easy to use, has two modes of play, and helps little ones expand their fine motor skills. (Her son was also a big fan of it!)

More Toys and Gifts for Kids

When it comes to toys and gifts for kids, our team has you covered. The Verywell Family team of editors (who are parents or have nieces and nephews of their own) have tested, gifted, and personally recommend every item we feature. Find more of our top gift and toy picks for every age and stage here:

6 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Academy of Pediatrics. How to buy safe toys.

  2. American Academy of Pediatrics. Toy buying tips for babies & young children: AAP report explained.

  3. American Academy of Pediatrics. Choking prevention.

  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Important milestones: Your child by eighteen months.

  5. Zero to Three. Tips for choosing toys for toddlers.

  6. United States Environmental Protection Agency. Learn about the Safer Choice Label.